I write letters to folks that are facing challenges, be it an illness or some misfortune. I want to let them know that they are not alone. That someone is thinking of them. No reply is ever expected.
I have a dear friend I write to who can not write back, due to health issues. Sometimes, when I write to her it feels awkward, like my news is too one-sided. I wonder, “Am I using too many I’s?” Yet every now and then, I’ll find her voice on my answering machine, telling me that she appreciates the cards and letters. So I’ll keep visiting her through the mail.
The idea of sending handwritten letters of encouragement and good cheer to people, strangers even, is actually quite popular. And I’m excited to discover that these letter writing campaigns are being initiated by younger people, mainly women. These programs attest to the magic that a handwritten letter holds to make deeper connections between people.
The Letter Project is one of the programs supported by To Love Ourselves, LLC. A young woman in her 20’s, Whitney Saxon founded this organization primarily to support women and girls to love and appreciate themselves just as they are. The group uses letters as their vehicle to convey positive encouragement to girls everywhere. The Letter Project has a growing presence on college campuses. One can request a letter for a particular girl, and a group of volunteers will put pen to paper to create and send a packet of letters. Based upon the grateful responses posted on their website they are definitely uplifting those who receive their letters.
— A 16-year-old in Chicago…“Thank you for the letters. They honestly just brightened up my day…I will be putting one in my locker so I can look at it every day at school when I’m feeling down…You just do not know how much seeing and reading those letters means to me right now.”
— A 23-year-old in Chicago …“I just checked my mail for the first time in a week. Y’ALL. TEARS. I opened my mailbox to find a “Special Delivery” just to me. When I opened the package it was filled with heartfelt letters of encouragement, love compliments. Letter after letter filled me with so much joy! WOW! Reading these, I never would have thought the girl they were referring to was me. This has truly been such an incredible gift. Whoever did this for me THANK YOU. SERIOUSLY. This is honestly one of the kindest and most thoughtful things anyone has ever done for me. “
Hannah Brencher- founder of More Love Letters, began by writing letters to strangers and leaving them in odd places and spaces in New York City. Plagued by anxiety, loneliness, and depression, Hannah discovered she could reach outside of herself to write letters of love and encouragement to anyone, anywhere. She would address each letter with-“If you find this letter, it’s for you.”
Her ability to move beyond her own loneliness to connect with others with a love letter has sparked a global letter writing movement. One can submit a request for letters to be sent to someone in distress. Again, there is a team and volunteers to help “spread the love” and write- More Love Letters!
Jodi Ann Bickley created One Million Lovely Letters to combat her own personal feelings of depression. Writing letters of encouragement to strangers gave her a reason to get out of bed in the morning. Jodi has not yet reached her goal of One Million Letters, but she, too, has volunteers to assist. One can request a letter through the website listed below.
For the price of a stamp you can change someone else’s day.” -Jodi
I have a feeling that these campaigns are more numerous than I imagine. If you know of any others, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org It is so encouraging to realize that the Art of Letter writing is alive, growing, and still lifting spirits.